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Should You Really Be A Lawyer?: The Guide To Smart Career Choices Before, During & After Law School

4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0940675575
ISBN-10: 0940675579
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Editorial Reviews


An inventive and informative book. Read it only if you care about your career. -- Kathy Morris, JD, author and legal career counselor

I wish more of our students and alumni could have read this book before they made their biggest career decisions. -- Former ass't dean, St. University School of Law

Should be required reading for every law school applicant and pre-law advisor. -- Ass't Dean, Villanova University School of Law

" ... A practical, non-judgemental road map for those who want to understand whether they are suited for the law, and what to do if they are not." --California Lawyer Magazine

"This book should be mandatory reading for pre-law students everywhere. It raises questions they should ask (but don't) before spending tens of thousands of dollars on a legal education." --Pre-Law Advisor/Stanford University

"We wish we could have read Should You Really Be a Lawyer BEFORE going to law school." --Law Library Journal

"A must-read if only because it raises important questions I have never seen in print." --Director, Alumni Career Services/Georgetown University Law Center

"A valuable guide for anyone considering going to law school, but especially for those bright liberal arts majors who find themselves in a panic after graduation." --The Washington Post

From the Publisher

Walk through any bookstore and check the sections on Reference, Careers or Graduate School. You find all sorts of books that can help you ace the LSAT, get into a good law school, succeed on law school exams, land a legal job, and then manage your career. But none of them can help you answer the most basic question: should you go into law at all? Schneider and Belsky's book is the first to help you decide whether to become a lawyer ... or whether to remain one ... and how to find the right career for you.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: LawyerAvenue Press (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940675579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940675575
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,176,581 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

As its cover suggests, this book was written for the BEFORE, DURING, and AFTER (law school) folks. Although it will add value (and confirmation) to many people in the DURING and AFTER crowd, the book (I think) is most critical for those in the BEFORE crowd.

No one can argue with the book's observations that (a) law school is extremely expensive and (b) many (if not most) law students have no idea what attorneys really do day-to-day. Moreover, soon after law school, many graduates learn that (i) they do NOT like what attorneys really do day-to-day (often an odd mix of boring work and stressful consequences) and (ii) they NEED to be a "big law firm attorney" in order pay off their school debts. This realization is tough to digest (particularly since the student was told so many times in the past that "there is so much you can do with your law degree").

Although there certainly are "options" to the big law firm life (and this book is good at helping the BEFORE, DURING and AFTER reader to try to discover his/her options), there do not seem to be enough "real options" out there . . . given one's debt and the big law firm salaries. Thus, there is a sense of "I'm trapped."

It's true that with a lot of work (and a lot of sunk costs and lost time) one can find a "real option" and get out of the "trap" -- it is also true that some attorneys find an area of law and a law firm that they really do like or have a great "next step" that happens (and, yes, it is also true that all jobs probably "suck" in some way). However, rolling the dice with three years of your life and $100k plus (and lost income), is really pretty crazy -- and certainly not very "big firmmy" -- even though many (if not most) entering law students do seem to do this.
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Comment 46 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This book was one of the most helpful books about law, law school and the legal profession I have come across. It forces you to ask yourself probing and challenging questions that get at the real reasons behind why you are considering law school. It also gave great information about the what the legal profession is like and how to explore it yourself. While cautionary in tone, it does assert that there are valid reasons for choosing the law and that if you explore yourself well enough you can make an informed decision one way or the other. It's a must buy for anyone considering law school. Before you plunk down $100,000 and three years of your life, use this book to make sure that it's worth it for you.
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If you are considering going to law school or a current law student or lawyer questioning your career decisions, this book provides exceptional guidance on making the right choices for you when it comes to a legal career. As a non-practicing lawyer who now works with students at a law school, I recommend this book to all students who are questioning whether law is really the best profession for them. The book avoids making judgments about the value of a legal education or career and instead poses questions and provides honest information which help people do the necessary soul searching (and reality checking) to make sure that they are pursuing a legal career for the right reasons. Being a lawyer is a great job, but it is not for everyone. This book will help applicants, students, and practicing attorneys figure out if they are on the right track sooner rather than later.
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How I wished a book like this would have been given to me when I was younger. Back then I briefly considered attending law school simply because I didn't know what else to do. I was a liberal arts major, with no clue as to what I should do next. Being that I come from a Chinese family, I was also pressured into becoming a lawyer for the money and prestige that the profession was suppossed to bring. Fortunately a good lawyer from the Chinese community came to my rescue and counseled my parents thus effectively changing their minds. Believe me, I was lucky as back then most people did not have such luxury.

Today however, you do. This book by Deborah Schnider is excellent in describing what being a lawyer is really like and helps cut through the indecision, confusion, misconception, fear and guilt about entering or leaving the profession. The only thing I warn you is that this book may not work on a person with a closed mind. I tried giving this book to a friend of mine who did go to law school, hated it, but is still a lawyer. He hates his job but doesn't dare consider leaving because his parents paid for his education and he doesn't dare want to disappoint them. Everytime I bring up the subject, we argue. Some people will never come around, but for those who are in serious doubt and wish to do something about it, this book is for you.
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As a career counselor I know what it can be like to support someone who is facing a huge decision of time and committment...or, perhaps, facing a decision to make a change away from the time and committment they have already indulged in! Should You Really Be a Lawyer does a great job in breaking down all those little conversations that go around in our heads and provides understanding so decisions can be made more clearly and effectively. I highly recommend this book as a tool for making an educated decision. The appendix at the end of the book also provides invaluable 'next step' guides that will be useful for any career crossroad!
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